23 points from Estudiantes forward Dan Clark led Great Britain to an 84-80 win over Bosnia in Sarajevo last night which sent the side top of their European Championship qualifying group.
Chris Finch’s men now head for Birmingham on Saturday to face Ukraine, who defeated Hungary 80-71, and although they were forced to battle right to the finish, a third victory from three ties puts them in pole position to reach next year’s finals in Lithuania.
“This was a tough game,” said Clark. “Bosnia were coming off of a loss on the road and they played well in the first half. We played tough down the stretch."
GB made life difficult for themselves when they fell 11 behind in the opening quarter. With in-form Clark converting his first eight shots, they fought back but Bosnia responded to grab a 48-41 lead at half-time.
A flurry from Nate Reinking and Clark drew the visitors level early in the third and after Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng opened up a three-point lead, their rivals quickly responded to send the tie into the fourth period deadlocked at 64-64.
However in a tight finale, Clark sank two late free throws to put GB ahead for good with a minute left and Reinking, who had 21, hit the clinching scores in the dying seconds to give GB captain Drew Sullivan a victory to go with his record-breaking 50th cap.
“It’s a heck of an achievement,” said Finch. ”Drew and Nate have been here since day one. He’s been an inspirational captain and a great leader and if you’re going to build a team, it’s around guys like him.”
Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu each finished with 16 points, with the latter pulling down 13 rebounds.
Ratko Varda led the Bosnians with 20 points, while Kenan Bajramovic had 16 and Henry Domercant 14.